December 2021 - Hader Clinic Queensland

Why You Should Try Dry January

The concept of a “Dry January” has developed into an annual tradition for many people, so why don’t you give it a try?

Motivation for going alcohol-free for the first month of the year is driven by many things. For example, some people use it as part of a New Year’s resolution to drink less, while others consider January a way to detox from an overindulgent Christmas holiday period.

The rise of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a noticeable increase in alcohol consumption within the community, which is highlighting the effects that alcohol has on individuals, their families, and society as a whole.

“Dry January” is often marketed as a way to improve health. The benefits of being sober are THAT compelling, that undertaking a “Dry January” could be a good start to adopting a sober lifestyle on a permanent basis.

The benefits of eliminating alcohol consumption are as follows.

Your general health will improve

It’s been well documented that excessive drinking (defined by more than one standard drink per day for women and two for men) is associated with negative health effects such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, not to mention increased risk for diseases such as breast cancer, heart disease and liver problems.

You will sleep better and feel more energetic

Contrary to popular opinion, drinking alcohol can mess with sleeping patterns, which in turn affects energy levels throughout the day. Many participants in “Dry January” challenges report greater energy levels and more clarity of thought.

You may lose weight if that is a goal

One gram of alcohol contains seven calories. A couple of glasses of alcohol can add significant caloric intake in addition to food and may make it easier to gain weight. Conversely, removing alcohol from your life may make it easier to lose weight, particularly in tandem with the increased feelings of energy that also occur.

You may improve your immunity and resistance to illness

The USA’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that excessive alcohol intake can suppress our immune system response.  According to the Institute, one evening of heavy drinking can impede the effectiveness of our immune systems. While having a depressed immune system is undesirable at the best of times, it’s particularly problematic during a pandemic event such as COVID-19.

You may change your relationship with yourself and others

Being alcohol-free can have a marked impact on the relationship you have with yourself. You may experience improvements in your mental clarity and your ability to problem solve usually complex tasks. Your feelings and emotions may be sharper – which can often lead to a greater ability to re-evaluate where you are headed in life.

Your relationships with others may improve because without alcohol, you can be more present and engaged. Additionally, you may find that you become more tolerant of and less reactive towards others, due to an improved ability to think clearly and rationally.

You WILL improve your mental health

Think about some of the narratives around drinking alcohol. People drink for a multitude of reasons, for example, to celebrate an event. Yet people also drink to numb emotional pain and to change their mood. Removing alcohol from your life, whether in January or beyond, can propel you to take better care of your mental health and allow you to better experience your emotions in a healthy way.

If you are drinking to numb or insulate yourself from psychological pain, it’s worth considering seeking help from a mental health professional.  The Hader Clinic Queensland can help in this regard.

It’s time to change the narrative in 2022 around alcohol – and seek help if you need it.

Clever marketing has portrayed drinking alcohol as a desirable trait, however, from a health perspective, this narrative is completely false and potentially fatal for susceptible individuals.

Changing the discussion around alcohol in our society should include promoting sobriety as THE optimal lifestyle choice.

The Hader Clinic Queensland applauds the concept of engaging in a dry January and encourages everyone to consider living a sober life permanently. Why? Because there is no downside to having better emotional regulation, better health and a clearer mind!

However, if you have been drinking heavily, it may be unsafe to attempt a “cold turkey” detox from alcohol. The Hader Clinic Queensland Private hospital specialises in medical detox from alcohol and other drugs. This ensures your commitment to removing alcohol in your life is done safely and effectively.


Colin’s Alcohol Recovery Story

Sick of himself, and feeling the strain on his marriage, Colin attended residential addiction treatment for his alcohol addiction.

Hi, my name is Colin.  I am looking forward to the best years of my life now that I am no longer affected by alcohol.

I’m fifty-nine years old. I did Hader Clinic Queensland’s thirty-day program and have been in recovery for just over four months.

Like lots of other young men, I started drinking when I was 15-16 years old. I played all types of sport – you name it – soccer, golf, cricket, and these games usually involved having a drink afterwards as a means of wrapping up a game, series etc.

I also worked as a tradesman and having a drink after a long hot day on the tools was commonplace.

At this time, I did not concern myself with whether I had a problem with drinking or alcohol in general. It was just part of my life and I considered myself to be as normal as the next Aussie bloke.

I felt like I was the typical red-blooded Aussie male immersed in a national drinking culture.

In my mid-30s, my business collapsed. At the same time, my first wife asked for a divorce. I had no idea how to handle these feelings of despair, grief, and panic, so I turned to what I knew would numb the pain – drinking.

However, I slowly but surely got back on my feet, launched a new business, met a nice lady (my now wife) and rebuilt again. The tide was starting to turn, and life was better.

This meant that rather than drinking to numb my feelings, I was drinking for excitement. Underneath it all, I was an unstable mess. The first business collapse had hit me hard, and my drinking was driven by fear of the same thing happening again.

“Don’t mess up,” I told myself, all the while drinking to numb the feelings of insecurity and panic, plus marvel that I’d been able to back up financially.

Today, I wonder what could have possibly been if I had been sober!

Over the last five to six years, I was able to establish myself in a good position financially. At the same time, I realised that I could not stop drinking.

I tried doctors, counselling, psychologists, and medications with limited success.  I tried naltrexone, which had unfortunate side effects, plus I knew that I could go back to drinking as soon as I stopped.

I’d have one or two drinks and I’d think, “screw it, may as well keep going”.  I measured my intake by the bottle, rather than the percentage of alcohol.

I was sick of myself. My wife was sick of me.

I wasn’t violent, neither did I wreck things. I considered myself to be a “high functioning” alcoholic who was successfully running two businesses. I wasn’t on a park bench, neither was I drinking at 6am.

Yet, I was out of control.

Deciding that it was time to make a change, I searched for residential rehabs.

Given that I wanted a safe detox from alcohol, I chose to attend the Hader Clinic Queensland Private hospital and did their detox and rehabilitation program.

Luckily, my private health insurance covered a lot of the cost.

My thirty days in hospital felt quite surreal. It wasn’t your usual hospital experience. There were all types of classes about addiction to attend and I even learned how to meditate.

However, I had moments of fun too. I had emotionally bottomed out, so it was nice to learn how to “feel” things again.

Rehab felt like my last shot, and I had been ready to act. It gave me the breathing space to evaluate what I wanted from life and it was enlightening to be functioning as a sober person.

Naturally when I was discharged, I was fearful about how I would manage. However, attending AA meetings twice a week and doing the book work has been a leveller. It’s a myth that alcoholics are the guys you see zonked out on the park bench. I rub shoulders with people from all walks of life and that gives me the confidence to stay straight.

My family are happy and grateful that I went to rehab. My relationships with them are much improved. I’m a much calmer, less reactive person.

Work has improved out of sight. Before rehab, I had felt beaten down and wanting to retire. Now, I am thinking clearly, feel engaged and enthusiastic about what I’m doing. Therefore, I delayed my retirement. It’s really the first time in my own business that I have been sober, and I couldn’t be happier.

I think success in rehab has to do with being ready, asking questions, and learning to recognize the B.S you tell yourself when you’re in active addiction.

If you realise that you have a problem from the beginning, the recovery seems to be easier to manage.

I have been fine around others drinking during this Christmas period. I have moments where I think it would be nice, but I remain vigilant about not going down that path. If there’d been a Christmas party prior to rehab, I most certainly would have been the drunkest person there.

It’s a relief not to be that person anymore. My plan is to continue my regular AA meetings and do my bookwork.

And take one day at a time! Thanks to the Hader Clinic Queensland for your help and support.

Bridget’s Relapse Recovery Story

After completing residential addiction treatment for her alcohol addiction, Bridget never thought relapse could happen to her.

When I left rehab for the first time just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, I thought that in many ways I had closed the door on my old addictive life. After all, I had completed Hader Clinic Queensland’s ninety-day program, had a taste of recovery, reconnected with my children, and had transitioned successfully from face to face to Zoom meetings with the arrival of the pandemic.

You could have said that my first year of recovery was going well. I had a good home group, I was participating in the “give back” program with Hader Clinic Queensland and I was involved in service within my group as well. Additionally, I had gone back to full-time study.

However, something began to change. I was dealing with a few health issues and there seemed to be a shift. I could not put my finger on it. Before I knew it, I had relapsed.

It’s easy to look back in hindsight, but at the time, I did not realise it was happening. I felt pressured and that all the other aspects of my life were caving in.

Looking back, I can clearly understand that my head picked up before my hand did.

After my first stint in rehab, I considered myself a success story and my ego put a ton of pressure on myself to maintain that façade. Yes, I’m driven and perfectionistic and I wasn’t about to show any weakness. My ego considered that to be embarrassing.

I would listen to tales of relapse in meetings and think, “that will never happen to me”.

Of course, when the rug was pulled from underneath me, I didn’t want to admit defeat and go back to rehab, but it was the best thing I could have done.

When I arrived back at rehab, I was initially very angry with myself for allowing myself to relapse.

However, my thirty days was a great refresher. It was comforting to realize that I hadn’t lost the basics of the program, but rather, that I was able to work on aspects of the program that I had missed, because relapse forced me to see everything differently.

It’s been twelve months since I completed those thirty days and since then I haven’t looked back. Second time round rehab taught me humility, and to be compassionate towards myself.

Having all the staff being so warm, wonderful and compassionate – and importantly, sharing their relapse stories made me feel better.

I also understood that when I came out, life wasn’t going to be roses – and it wasn’t. I had to deal with life on life’s terms and there was some tough stuff to deal with.

My relapse experience has seen my connection with my spirituality deepen as well as my connection with others in the program. Now, I am no longer afraid of sharing when I am feeling a bit rough.

This experience has also seen me speak freely about my addiction experience with family and friends who have no real knowledge of addiction. Before, I used to hide it a bit. Today, I am out in the open.

I have completed six months of study, qualifying in a Diploma of Alcohol and Other Drugs and Mental Health. It’s time to leave my job as a teacher – which feels strange as that’s all I have ever done. However, my intuition told me very strongly that I didn’t want to continue.

Since my relapse, I haven’t been in contact with my children.

The old me would have wallowed in self-pity and used it as an excuse to drink. I now know what this means and I just don’t go there anymore.

Something that has helped me was a quote I read six months into being clean this time around. It said, “never give up, because you never know if the next try will work”.

This has rung true in my battle to reconnect with my kids. My case went to trial and I represented myself in court. It was pretty full on, with both solicitors and a barrister in attendance. I prepared for this day as much as I could.

I’m so glad that I did, because that “try” meant that my ex-husband and I were able to negotiate a good outcome. Initially, I never imagined that I would be able to do it. We negotiated the nature of the time I would spend with our kids and a pathway to move forward with them together.

In the future, I want to be able to help others who encounter the same situation as the legal process can be daunting.

Since my relapse, I have learned how powerful addiction is and not to be complacent.

I’m a realist. I know that I’m not cured.

I take one day at a time. I can’t say that I’ll never drink again.

However, I can say that I know that I’m not going to drink today, and that I’m not going to drink tomorrow either.

It is easier for me than the pressure of “absolutes”.

I remember staff member, Maya, telling me that the days abstinent turn into weeks and then months turn into years.

I am enjoying sobriety. I have more fun, am more active, play sport and regularly go to the beach. I engage, rather than just watch.

One thing before we finish up – I wanted to stress that I did not relapse because the program “didn’t work”. The knowledge and tools l learned really messed up my desire to keep drinking – and relapse has helped me.

I’m looking forward to a new career in AOD counselling and a move up the coast.

Hader Clinic Queensland was there for me the whole way and I cannot thank them enough for getting me back on the right path.

Life is good!

Quinn’s Ice Addiction Recovery

Quinn was a regular 40-year-old father and husband working in IT, but he had a secret. And once his wife discovered the truth, residential addiction treatment for his ice addiction would turn his life around.

My name’s Quinn. I am forty years old and I work in IT.  My particular poison was ice.

When I was sixteen or seventeen, I smoked weed recreationally.

Then it all really started with me and my mates coming across the drug, ice.  We started smoking ice and party drugs and went from there.

It all started off as a sociable thing really. Then it grew and stuck with me. Then, the group of mates I had started smoking it with fell away, and I gravitated towards other users who were also smoking ice.

It was around this time that I realised that my use of the drug was becoming a little less social.

I managed to get off it for a while when I was nineteen and then started up again during my 20s. Then I had another little break from it. I had seen a friend develop psychosis, and he ended up in a really bad way. I made a pact with him that we’d stop smoking ice to help us both recover.

Life bubbled along until I was exposed to ice again in my mid-thirties.  When that happened, addiction came at me like a freight train. I went hard and fast. Next minute, I was on it every day trying to manage this with a wife and two small kids.

Not to mention, I was paying a mortgage and being the primary carer for our kids while my wife worked.My wife had no idea what was going on. When she met me, she knew that I had dabbled in recreational drugs like coke when I was going out with the boys, but she had no idea about the ice.

My wife was livid when she found out. She found out twice that I was smoking it before the final death knell. The first two times I’d been able to convince her that I had a plausible reason for smoking it.

The third time, she didn’t catch me per se, but she found $26,000 in cash withdrawals missing from our bank statement. That occurred less than twelve months into my using.

She confronted me, and of course I could not explain these cash withdrawals to her.

The addict in my brain was trying to think up a plausible excuse but I was frozen. I couldn’t come up with anything. I had been caught.

Before I was caught, every time I’d go out to score, I’d be having this internal struggle – “should I, or shouldn’t I?”.

I knew that it wasn’t right, but I also knew that I couldn’t stop. I knew that there was something wrong, because despite my rational thinking, I went out of my way to get drugs.

We decided that rehab was my only option.

Going to rehab was actually a relief. I enrolled in Hader Clinic Queensland’s thirty-day program. I detoxed for seven days prior to entering rehab. I organised to take a month of sick leave and told my employer about my addiction. In fact, I told as many people as I could.

I wasn’t certain of what the response would be, but my employer was supportive and granted me sick leave. It reinforced that being honest about your condition will set you free.

Rehab was a great experience. It was the first time in twenty years that I felt proper emotions. I felt guilt and shame. Throughout the last twenty years, I had never felt any guilt or shame about smoking ice. Every now and again I’d feel a little bit guilty but did not realise how deep in it I was.

My experience at rehab wasn’t what I thought it would be. I had thought that rehab meant being strapped down with toothpicks in my eyes and being admonished for using – “drugs are bad, you know”.

Instead, it was a spiritual awakening. Rehab isn’t for those who aren’t in the right frame of mind – you must be ready and willing to make the change.

The biggest things rehab taught me were learning to be tolerant and accepting of others and not to let my emotions lead me back to places where I wanted to use.

Additionally, I had to learn how to deal with my feelings. No longer could I use because I was feeling angry, frustrated, or sad.

For the first couple of weeks, when I would see my two daughters, I would cry. I now want to be the best Dad I can be.

It’s been a hard road for my wife and me. Naturally, she feels angry and betrayed.

JJ has been instrumental in helping me learn to deal with my wife. He has helped me to understand that she will beat me up emotionally as her way of dealing with my addiction. That I needed to learn how to respond to the situation, rather than have a red-hot reaction.

It doesn’t always pan out, but I am trying.

Since going back to work, life has improved. I can communicate much better with my peers. I can think clearly and now navigate complex tasks with ease. Now I am having to deal with a bit of boredom, but it’s inspiring me to try something different.

I’m approaching six months clean. I am grateful to the Hader Clinic Queensland for their help and support.

Leah’s Recovery Story

Preparing for her first Christmas sober, Leah recounts her journey of ice addiction treatment. 

I didn’t touch anything until I was 21 years old. When I was young, I was abused which greatly affected my mental health, and began to hate the world for it.

Whilst dealing with the courts in organising a domestic violence order, the whole ordeal was very stressful for me, and ice became a way of making everything better.

This is the story of my addiction and recovery.

Someone offered ice to me, when I was with a group of friends who I knew were into it. Being in a vulnerable moment, I said yes. And that was it for me.

The first time I tried ice, I just felt invincible, like I could do anything. I had really low self-confidence and was very shy, but when I had that (ice), I could talk to anyone. I felt invincible and untouchable.

I started off just doing it on the weekends when I was out. But then it got to a point where I was thinking, “this stuff is really good” and it turned into four days a week, then five, and then eventually I was doing it every day. I didn’t think I could cope without it.

My family grew really concerned. All of a sudden, I had become this heavy drug user. And they really didn’t understand it.

They said, “You really need to slow down.” I was like “Nah I’m only doing it every now and then.” In reality, I was doing it every day. It’s like I wasn’t even aware of this fact.

I got admitted into a psych ward and got off ice there. I was in the ward for three weeks. I thought I wouldn’t touch it again after those three weeks. Two months later, I started alcohol. I was missing that feeling I got from the ice use. But then I started drinking every day, and the drinking eventually led me back on to ice.

Then my Dad said to me one day, “You need help. I’ve got this program at Hader Clinic Queensland, you need to go to it, and if not, we can’t do this anymore.”

I had an ultimatum. I had to go get help, or I’d lose my family. When Dad told me that, I felt really hurt. I thought, how could they do this to me? But then I also thought of everything I’d done to them for them to be in this position, sending me to rehab.

At this point, I knew I had a bit of a problem, but I didn’t think I needed to go to a place like the Hader Clinic Queensland. I was still functioning, going to work and stuff. I thought I was alright, that this was just the way of life. But it really wasn’t.

I went to rehab in Gympie, and at first, I thought I was stuck there. I thought my family wouldn’t come back to get me. I was really scared because I hadn’t been away from family that long. I felt like they’d given up. On day two, I packed my bags thinking “I’m not doing this.”

By the end of the week though, I was like, actually, this is really good. Looking back now, it’s the best thing I ever did.

The first week was really rough, but I just thought, “I need to do this.” I got stuck into the program and decided that if I still felt like this in two weeks, I’d rethink, but at this point I hadn’t even given it a chance yet, so I slept on it, and decided to stick it out.

I made it!

You start there thinking “screw this” but next thing you know you’re helping the person who wants to leave on their first week and convincing them “No, don’t stop before the miracle happens! We’ve been in your shoes before.”

I absolutely loved the people there. It was good to be with like-minded people – normally, you’re dealing with judgey people who don’t understand that you don’t choose that life. But at rehab, it wasn’t like that at all.

You feel really supported like you’re not alone.

The fact that rehab had support staff with lived experience… that was what really sold it for me when Dad told me to go. I said, “I’m not going to listen to people who don’t know shit.” And Dad said, “No, they’re ex-addicts.” I was like WOW they are? Do they know what it’s like? That was just one of many things I loved about the Hader Clinic Queensland.

I absolutely thrived on the structure and routine during rehab. In addition, you really don’t have any of that. So initially, you’re like, “what the hell?” You’ve got to get up and do things at certain times. But I really thrived off that. Journaling really helped me too. I stopped journaling when I got out of rehab, and I felt like my program was failing, so I started journaling again and felt much better for it. Journaling is a big part of my recovery.

I was scared about going back home.

I was in a bubble for three months, and when it came time to transition out to the real world, it was quite daunting for me. I knew I had to go back to work and stuff.

But I just had to. That’s life. You can’t hide behind a substance, and that’s what I had done for ages – I didn’t know how to live real life anymore. But you just had to. Most people knew where I was at, and I was actually congratulated for going to get help. I felt really good. People were coming to me for once. I transitioned really well back into it, even though I didn’t think I would.

My parents were very happy to see me when I came back.

“We’ve finally got our daughter back,” they said.

After rehab, I used the aftercare app, which was really good. It kept me honest. You checked in every day as you would have at the rehab, so that was cool. And then you got the meditation as well. I meditate three times a day. It’s something I learned through rehab.

When I first started the meditation at the rehab, I thought, “this shit doesn’t work.” I would just sit there and hate the world. But once I got into it, I thought, “this is actually pretty cool – I can use this when I’m having a bad day.” It sucks me out of it.

I found the aftercare app, and especially the counselling sessions with Olivia were really good for me.

It was great to have that continued support after. I kind of thought after rehab that was it. But Hader Clinic Queensland really cared afterwards as well.

I finished the 90-day rehab program on September 7 this year. This will my first Christmas sober since before being in active addiction. I’m keen but nervous. It’s scary thinking of what I’ll talk about. But this will be a good test for me.

I’m going to keep it small this year, just with immediate family who know what I’ve been through. Maybe next year I can do something bigger, but for now, I’m being smart with my recovery.

I do get nervous thinking about someone offering me a drink. I’m worried that at a time like Christmas, I’ll want it. But my family understands, so I’ll be fine.

I’m excited to celebrate Christmas and am thankful to Hader Clinic Queensland for helping me get to where I am now.


From Conflict to Connection at Christmas Time

Although holidays and Christmas are usually associated with family togetherness and joy, it’s also very common to experience heightened stress and anxiety at this time for various reasons.

The holidays can be particularly challenging for those in active addiction, especially if they have not yet started the journey towards recovery. Being caught in the grip of addiction is not only stressful for the individual, but for the family too, as there is usually a knock-on effect in family relationships. This is one reason that addiction is often labelled a “disease of the family”, rather than just the individual in addiction.

Addictive behaviours can trigger family conflicts as the greater family struggles with how to appropriately set boundaries with their loved ones and their using. For individuals in addiction, going home for the holidays can be especially triggering, especially if their substance use started or occurred in the family home. Often, reliving past memories can trigger addictive behaviours or relapse. Unintentional family enabling can also push someone further into addiction.

Statistics from the Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research in the USA suggest that alcohol and drug consumption in the holidays is markedly increased, as are deaths related to alcohol and drug use.

If someone is struggling with active addiction, they may have difficulty connecting with their family, despite their internal desire to want to belong. They may be hard to reason with and their behaviours, hard to manage functionally.

Given that the holidays can heighten the stress of a substance using lifestyle, it’s a time that may propel your loved one into seeking treatment for their condition. Attending rehab at this time of year can reap great benefits for both the affected person and their family.

Rehab at Hader Clinic Queensland encompasses elements of medical, psychosocial, and educational treatment that allows an individual space to understand that their addiction is a disease, and that, with the right tools and support, recovery is possible.

The gift of recovery for both families and individuals promises the opposite of addiction, connection. When an individual in recovery is supported by, and connected to, others, the urge to use as a means of coping is usually diminished.

When an individual and their family goes to rehab, the tools that they both learn to manage during recovery promotes confidence in relationships and reduces conflict as both learn how to work through their issues in a constructive way.

Rehab is the Christmas gift that keeps giving, because there is no expiry date on the tools and strategies provided to support recovery. Rehab during the Christmas period can give a vulnerable individual the tools, support and friendship that is needed to take those first wobbly steps towards healing.

If you are experiencing issues with substance addiction and your family situation has been particularly inflammatory, rehab can give you a safe space to decompress, recalibrate and take the steps forward that you need to heal.

If you have a loved one in addiction and are not sure what to say, you can reaffirm that you love them, but cannot support their addictive behaviour, thereby separating the disease from the individual.

Hader Clinic Queensland offers private hospital detox and a comprehensive rehab program to help individuals with addiction and associated mental health issues recover safely and effectively based on latest research.


Liam’s Addiction Recovery

Broken, sick of himself, and unable to stay clean, Liam attended residential addiction treatment at the Hader Clinic Queensland. 

If someone told thirty-year-old me (I’m forty now) that I’d be coming up on nearly three years clean (two years and eight months to be exact), that I would have friends that I could trust, a fellowship, my own place, and my son in my life, I would have thought they were pulling my leg.

If you were to ask me about my substance of addiction, I’d wrap it up into one word – “more”. I did benzos, meth, opioids, speed etc etc. Whatever I could get my hands on. If one drug wasn’t available, I’d go for another. It never entered my mind until I went to the Hader Clinic Queensland that it was actually possible to stay clean.

And this is coming from someone who’s been in and out of rehabs, detoxes and psych wards since 2010. I think in the early stages, I believed that everyone else had “the problem”, not me.

You see, I abused substances to stop feeling anything. I used and used and used so that I couldn’t feel a thing. When I was at the Hader Clinic Queensland, I realised that some of this behaviour stemmed from my childhood experiences. As a kid, I was always chasing that extreme, that hit of dopamine, that would make me forget my worries and transport me to another place.

As an older teen, I got into the party life with drinking and became involved with people who sold drugs.

At twenty-two, I was able to clean up and had my daughter. However, soon after, I was sent to East Timor by the military. Upon arriving home from my tour of duty, was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

As a result of my mental health, I started to use heavily – all I wanted to do was change my mood. My addiction deceived me into believing that I liked being an addict. My experience at the Hader Clinic Queensland made me realise that I was the problem in how I reacted to problems in my life, rather than respond appropriately.

My default behaviours were based on fear, shame, and guilt. Taking two years to do the 12 Steps helped me to understand that this was shaky ground to live on. With all the work I have done on myself and within the fellowship, I have become a person that likes what they see and who they are.

Thanks to the RSL, I was admitted to the Hader Clinic Queensland. I was discharged from the psychiatric ward at New Farm Clinic straight to the rehab. At this point, I was so broken and sick of myself that I decided I had nothing to lose by giving it a go. I’d been in rehabs long enough to know that two weeks of drying out was not going to cure me.

Looking around the rehab, I noticed that people were staying clean. When Mark shared his story with me about the carnage drugs had caused in his life, I realised that being clean was possible.

During my time at the Hader Clinic Queensland, I turned inward. I worked on myself in all aspects of life – from the seemingly simple acts of eating healthily and exercising, through to attending regular sessions with my psychiatrist and psychologist. The holistic approach that Hader Clinic Queensland took resonated deeply with me.

As I battled my demons and leveraged off the wisdom of the support workers who would calmly say, “just sleep on it” when I was cooking up ideas to leave, I soon began to realise that rehab was a safe space where I could clear my head and take the time to undertake the steps I needed to heal.

Since I left rehab, I have reconnected with my son and live in my own apartment. I have access to my son in the afternoons and he visits, does his homework and I get to feel completely present in the moment. No longer am I waiting for visitations to end so I can go out and score, I’m instead building a proper relationship with him. It has made me happier than I could have imagined. To help this, I have done some parenting courses through Triple P. They are amazing.

It’s really been the last eight months where I’ve really grown – I’m less ‘wired’ to think about addiction or getting on it when I hear certain music or watch certain TV shows. In that way it was harder to stay clean in that first year. Thankfully I had assistance from a Lives Lived Well counsellor at the time.

What the Hader Clinic Queensland has taught me is to live in the solution, rather than the problem. Depression and anxiety thrive on “standing still”. If you act, invariably you feel better – well, I know I do!Being in the fellowship has helped me to understand that everyone has their own crosses to bear. By sharing openly with others, you gain strength.

I live my life in action and gratitude for what is. I’m now the Sponsor for three members in my fellowship – we are currently working on steps 4, 5, and 6.

When I’m not contributing to the fellowship, I am continuing to maintain healthy habits by going to the gym and working with an exercise physiologist twice a week. I’ve dropped fifteen kilos and gone skydiving recently. The sky really is the limit.

I am also grateful to the Hader Clinic Queensland for the friends I made in rehab. I have a couple of good friends that I went through rehab with, and we have all stayed clean. We support each other with our lived experience. I also remain in touch with seven or eight others who were attending at the same time as me.

Thank you for sharing my story. There is always hope – and if you’re willing to do the work, the Hader Clinic Queensland can help you too.

How to Lead a Drug Free Life

Are you struggling with drug addiction and ready to lead a drug-free life? The first step is recognising that you need help and being willing to make the change with residential addiction treatment.

It will take more than just willpower to overcome an addiction, as drugs cause the brain to change, creating powerful cravings and compulsions. These side effects often make it seem impossible to achieve sobriety. But recovering from drug addiction is never truly impossible, no matter how dire you believe your situation is.

To recover, you must be willing to put in time and dedication, and you can regain control of your life again and beat your addiction. If you commit to living a drug-free life, you must understand that many elements of life will change. These may include:

  • How you cope with stress
  • Activities you do in your free time
  • The people you allow into your life
  • The way you think of yourself

If you are unsure if you are willing to give up your drug addiction, it is important to consider how giving up may impact your life. Think about things such as:

  • The role addiction plays in your life, such as when you use drugs and how much drugs you use
  • The pros and cons you can think of that will result from quitting
  • The costs associated with continuing drug use
  • What’s important to you in life, it could be your family, career, or health, and how drug use may impact these things

Once you have decided that you want to proceed with living a drug-free life, it is important to consider the treatment options available. These options will vary depending on the type of drug you are addicted to. Successful treatment programs often include many elements such as:

  • Detoxification: cleansing your body of the drug and managing any withdrawal symptoms that may result
  • Behavioural therapy: therapy can help you determine the cause of your drug addiction. It can also assist you with rebuilding relationships and learning healthier coping mechanisms
  • Medication: medication is sometimes used to help you manage symptoms of withdrawal, prevent relapses from occurring, or treat mental health issues such as anxiety or depression
  • Long term follow-ups: long term follow-ups can assist you in maintaining sobriety and preventing relapses. This may mean attending regular support groups or online meetings so professionals can ensure you are on track with recovery

Types of treatments include:

  • Residential addiction treatment: you will live in a facility and be away from your normal life commitments while you undergo intensive treatment. This may last a few days, to many months
  • Transitional Housing: you will live with several other recovering addicts in an environment that is safe, supportive and drug-free. These are beneficial for individuals who don’t have anywhere to go or those who are worried returning home may lead to a relapse.

If you’re looking to end your addiction, the Hader Clinic Queensland can help you go down the right path towards living a drug-free life.


My Husband Went to Rehab

Rosie and Steve were caught selling drugs, and both wound up in prison. On release, Steve completed residential rehabilitation for ice addiction treatment with the Hader Clinic Queensland. Here is Rosie’s story. 

I’m Rosie – Steve’s wife. I’ve been with Steve for more of my life, than not. We met when I was 16 and we’ve been together for the better part of thirty-one years. We’ve just celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary this past weekend.

When Steve went to rehab, it was really the first time in our relationship that we hadn’t been together. It was tough, but ultimately, Steve going to rehab was the best thing for him, and for us.

Steve’s eight years older than me. We met through friends. I had a nine-month-old son at the time. We were together for three months when we moved in together. Then after three years, we got married.

We both were into marijuana – and smoked it on and off for a few years. He was dabbling in other things, but not constantly.

Things really escalated when a few years ago when his mother passed away. I believe that’s what triggered his descent into using ice. He also started having health issues and got the sack from his employer which did little to help him. He’s still waiting on surgery to fix the brain aneurysm that the weed and ice likely caused.

Steve being freshly unemployed at the beginning of the COVID pandemic wasn’t great, then I was also made redundant from my job. Panicked, we turned to selling drugs to keep our heads above water, plus this was a way of feeding Steve’s addiction. Unfortunately, this led us into some trouble with the law.

The police were tracking Steve’s phone. When we got raided, we both got thrown into jail I was in there for a month. I had to get my kids to get me bailed. Steve was in there for three months and a condition of his bail was that he had to go to rehab for six months.

When I got out, I was relieved. It was horrifying, however, not quite as bad as they make out about it in the movies. It’s not somewhere you really want to be. There’s no rehabilitation. The jail staff treat you horribly, actually. You grow up having a lot of respect for the law, but when they put you in there, they just treat you like shit. So, you lose that respect. There should be more help, more rehabilitation for prisoners. Basically, they just sit there and let you rot.

When Steve attended residential addiction treatment, it was hard. We weren’t allowed to see, or communicate with each other for two weeks. We had never been apart. Then when I could go to the rehab to see him, it was only once a week, which was also tough. But we got there in the end.

In rehab, I could see Steve changing, becoming the Steve that I knew, loved and had married. I was still smoking weed at night to help me sleep, and to cope with all the stress of him being away.

Now he’s home, I worked out quickly that I didn’t need it, so that was it.

Steve started changing the moment he left jail. He was home two nights before he had to go off to rehab.

These days, we’re doing better, but life isn’t without its challenges. Our stuff is still going through the courts, Steve is still suffering with major headaches from his condition so there are some days where he feels quite depressed. He doesn’t want to use painkillers, due to all the shit that has come before. He can’t wait to have surgery to sort things out. He gets a bit worried because he currently cannot work at the moment, but we are taking things one day at a time. I am back working full time though and have been for the last couple of months.

Steve goes to meetings a few times each week and reads his books daily, which is really helpful when he’s feeling down about being home and unemployed. He has been given all the tools to succeed, so I guess it is good practice. I do know how he feels, because when I was unemployed, I’d sit at home and feel so lost sometimes.

The best advice that we can give to others is to use the tools that are provided in rehab. They keep you on the straight and narrow. The other bit of advice I have is to close the door on all those old contacts. New friends are really the best.

Thanks to the Hader Clinic Queensland for giving me back the husband I know and love.


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